Making the Mystery Real

How can we get more out of receiving Holy Communion? How can this amazing mystery become more real and meaningful for us?

We'll start with the bringing up the gifts, the bread and the wine. The gifts represent us, the faithful who are gathered for Mass. They represent our lives, our trials, our challenges, our anxieties and also our talents and our joys.

So when the bread and wine are first put on the altar, put YOUR life on the altar. Whatever is going on in your life at the time you are attending Mass, put it on the altar. The bread and the wine do not exist by themselves. They are "the work of human hands," as the priest says upon elevating them before the consecration.

In the Catholic Catechism, Section 1368, it says, regarding the Eucharist: "The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value."

The priest asks the Holy Spirit to come upon the gifts and make them into the Body and Blood of Jesus. In other words, he asks the Holy Spirit to unite our lives, with all that is going on in them, with the divine life that Jesus shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Our lives, having become one with the life of Jesus, are then offered as one sacrifice to the Father.

This reality is captured in Eucharistic Prayer I, when the priest says: "...We ask you, almighty God, command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high...so that all of us who through this participation at the altar receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing." 

Through the mystery of the Eucharist, each of us has access to the supernatural, divine power of Jesus Christ. The degree of power we receive is proportional to the level of our faith, the amount of expectation that we have when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion. He is always present in the Eucharist. But the fruitfulness, the impact of His presence, depends on how much we believe and consciously intend when we participate in the Eucharist. 

The commitment we make when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist can be expressed something like this: "Lord, Jesus, I pray that through this mystery, my life will be united with yours. I pray that the power of your sacrifice on the Cross, the most powerful event in the history of humanity, will be a source of blessings and grace in my life. Through the grace that you make available to me in this Eucharist, I commit to sacrifice myself for the good of others, and I ask you by the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal to me those whom you want me to serve in the way that you served."

If you do this, consciously, intentionally and purposefully, your life will never be the same. You'll become aware of a new power in your life, and you will know for sure that the source of this power is the Eucharist.